What are Rivers?

A river is a body of fresh water flowing from an upland source to a lake, wetland or to the sea, fed by water sources such as groundwater springs and tributary streams. The components of a river include a channel, in which the water flows, and a floodplain (a relatively flat region of land on either side of the river channel) which can become flooded at times of high river flow.

This Information page describes the characteristics of rivers and their uses and how the Water Framework Directive applies to protecting river water quality and biodiversity under the following headings:

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